Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
The divorce rate for a first marriage is roughly about 41%. The divorce rate is 60% for second marriage and 73% for a third. Those who do get married are tying the knot later, 28 for women and 30 for men, compared to in the 1960s where it was 20 for women and 23 for men. And a shocking number of 1 in every 4 families will face divorce. Divorce rates are increasingly going up and people are losing the meaning and essence of marriage. I believe that people choose the wrong partner at the wrong time and do not fully understand them, so they eventually get bored or give up on what they once had in their relationship. In our culture today, sometimes marriage can be viewed as more of a label pressured by society than a genuine and authentic statement of love. To back up my argument, I chose two essays to support my thesis on marriage today. In the essay “Marriage and Love” by Emma Goldman, she discusses the importance of free love as a replacement for the boundaries of marriage. In my second essay, I chose to read and analyze “They Didn’t Want an Arranged Marriage” by Lavanya Ramanathan, she discusses a couple who drifts away from their culture’s usual way of getting married.
My stance on marriage says that yes, it should still exist, but the two people that are getting married both truly need to be happy with themselves as individuals, the relationship they are in, and they should mutually agree on morals to eventually lead to having a family and raise their children on those same morals. I believe marriage is a public statement of finding that one person you have found for the rest of your life. Being open about the fact that you have found your only one is the perfect idea to have a long-lasting life and relationship. Goldman states in her essay, “Marriage and love have nothing in common; they are as far apart as the poles; are in fact, antagonistic to each other” (Goldman 362). Here, she is saying that people do not get married solely based on the fact that they are in love. Most people claim that they want their marriage to last a lifetime. Because over half of all marriages in the United States end in a divorce, most people lack the understanding of what it takes to stay married. I believe that couples should become more aware of the commitment that they are making when they enter into marriage. Men and women should get to know one another completely before deciding to get married. Important issues such as religion, finances, career, and whether or not to have children should be discussed so that the couple can learn each other’s views. Rather than giving up and ending the marriage, many couples could save the marriage by trying to work through the problems that arise. Many people do not realize how much hard work has to be put into a marriage for it to be successful.
I believe marriage is the beginning of the family and is a life-long commitment. Marriage provides an opportunity to grow in selflessness as a part of your family. Marriage is more than a physical union; it is also an emotional union between a couple. People who come to this mutual agreement are bound for life and I do not think most people think about who they want to spend their life with. People feel and act on emotion and I think that sometimes, couples act on those emotions incorrectly and just want to put a label on themselves. In America today, I feel like couples are especially rushed to get married and want to label themselves as so. Goldman contends that “One has to glance over the statistics of divorce to realize how bitter a failure marriage is” (Goldman 363). Couples who rush into things might crash and burn quickly rather than taking it slow and steady and savoring every second you have to get to know the person you are in a relationship with. Falling in love with a person takes time. Too often, two people feel the early signs of a loving relationship only to move too fast and scare away the one they are falling in love with. They become so consumed by the feeling of “being in love” that they become blinded to certain foreshadowing behaviors of their significant other. People often desperately want to be in love and be loved that they miss important clues to the authentic feel of the one they love. Goldman makes a fairly transparent point in learning to love freely and not put a sort of classification on the status of the relationship you are in.
Another example of marriage being used as a label is arranged marriages. In Ramanathan’s essay, she states “I asked my parents, now married for more than 40 years, why they’d agreed to let their parents dictate their love lives… “It was all we knew,” my mother said” (Ramanathan 355). She shows that because she was married to a man her parents did not want her to marry because her culture told her that an arranged marriage was the only way she could have a husband. I feel like this is an unhealthy and destructive cultural practice and forces human beings to be tied down to their significant other for life without even knowing who they actually are at first. Both individuals should have the right to choose who they are going to be married to for the rest of their lives. People need that choice of who they want to marry, especially if it is to a stranger. Falling in love with a person takes time and arranged marriages take away from the fact that humans get to choose who they love. Building confidence in a new relationship takes patience and commitment in any fresh relationship and without knowing the person and making a huge commitment to your significant other.
Ramanathan says, “But Rajan and Mehta may not be alone in forging what I call a “practical marriage” – focusing first on cultural similarities, financial goals and family, and trusting love will follow” (Ramanathan 353). In their culture, they do not have to worry about love at first. They believe that free love doesn’t work in the long run and feel like their financial stability justifies their relationships. While I agree with their stance on having a solid agreement on financial stability, I do not agree with it being the foundation of a marriage. Couples should get married based on mutual agreement on core family morals. In India, at least, arranged marriages are marriages between families. It puts a lot of pressure on both partners to meet the opposite family’s expectations. It often leads to frustration, frequent arguments, and unhealthy compromises – making love take a seat at the end.
In an arranged marriage, one is not in control to choose a life partner. You come into this world with all your relationships already in place- except one and that relationship is one you have for the rest of your life. Finding a spouse is essentially everyone’s right, and arranged marriages take away that sole right as well. One does not get to listen to their mind and compare them against their ideals. Most parents within that belief that a meeting or two with the prospective match is enough to decide for a lifetime.